Monday, June 02, 2008

Lemba - a (very) small Cypriot Village

Cyprus College of Art's original school, discounting the days when it was in Famagusta before the Turks occupied it and drove all the Greeks out, - is in the tiny hamlet of Lemba (Λεμπα) situated some seven kilometres north of tourist infested Paphos and about one kilometre inland from a point on the coast midway between Kato Pafos and Coral Bay. It is a working class community quite untainted by the popular tourist industry. It consists of about six dwelling houses, a pottery, an archeological centre, a Chalcolithic village reconstruction and an art college, more of which anon.
When I arrived here I could not help but draw comparisons between here and the village of Halton-Lea-Gate in Northumberland where I lived for twenty years or so. Both are very rural and rely on neighbouring villages for services. Halton-Lea-Gate had its own Co-op shop, Lemba hasn't, though it does have a ladies hairdressing salon(!) The nearest shop is in neighbouring Chlorakas (Хλορακας) about a kilometre away in one direction and the orthodox church is in Kissonerga (Κησώνργα) two kilometres the other. There is a pre-motorway main road, the Archbishop Markarios III Way (Λεοφωρος Αρξηπισκου Μαρκαριός ΙΙΙ), which runs frm Cape Akamas at the westernmost tip of the island to Cape Grecko at the easternmost. This road by-passes all these villages. Lemba is a sleepy little place, well most of the time. This lane is the one Iwalked along to and from the studios every day. In a morning there are lizards of all types running around and in the evenings, stunning red sunsets as the sun plunges almost vertically into the wine dark sea. [Had to put a bit of Homeric romance in!]
An old style Cypriot house, rapidly disappearing before the inexorable advance over so-called "development."

This is the environment in which I have spent the last few weeks. There have been impromptu Mediterranean feasts sometimes involving the whole community, rather like a street party. We all contribute our little bit, wine, food, goodwill, and the locals cooked some real traditional Cypriot food.

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